Posted by: Joe English | July 27, 2012

Commentary — Olympic Fever Baby, I’ve Got it Bad!

running-advice-bugOMG people I have Olympic Fever. I have it bad. I’ve been so excited about the Olympic Games that I can barely sleep at night. Right about now the Olympic athletes are about to walk into the Olympic Stadium in London for the opening ceremonies and I bet they won’t sleep tonight either.

A few days ago Olympian Shalane Flanagan posted on her Facebook wall a simple statement: “My Olympic uniform came in the mail today.” It kind of gave me the chills. I recall getting my own world’s uniforms last year with that American flag on the chest and the letters “USA” emblazoned across it. Putting that uniform on was one of my proudest moments and that was nothing compared to what these athletes are going through right now. There really couldn’t be much more that would be more exciting than walking out into the Olympic stadium among the best athletes in the world, being watching by what like a billion people world-wide. Heck, even if you were an Olympic synchronized pottery-spinner, it would be frickin’ amazing. Now imagine that you were one of the leaders in one of the most watched sports (think swimming right now). It would be a frenzy.

My five year-old son and I were talking a few weeks ago at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials. It was his first sporting event EVER. After watching the long jump competition he said, “Dad, I want to go to the Olympics. It will take a lot of work, but I want to go to the Olympics.” This is a kid that he so far shown no interest in sports and even he’s got the fever. I love it.

So why am I all lathered up about the Olympics. For a couple of reasons, I guess. First, the Olympics represent the ultimate display of dedication to sport. You don’t get to go just by being good or great at your sport. You have to be so good that you win against the best people in your sport. This was on display at the US Olympic Trials when they made the point a couple of times that winning the event wasn’t enough. The athletes had to win in a specific time or meet a specific mark. And those benchmark times are really, really hard to meet. No one is there that just kind of backed into it. Like the Marines, you need to be the best of the best of the best. And I love that.

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